After two years of planning, the former Family First Sports Park officially has a new owner.
The Greater Regional Erie Athletic Team Training has completed the purchase of the sports facility.
The new athletic complex will now be called the ErieBank Sports Park.
"I think it's the perfect community asset for this area,” said ErieBank President Dave Zimmer. “I think it's going to be a great revenue driver and I think everyone is going to benefit."
With the deal now finalized, G.R.E.A.T.T. will soon begin a $9.1 point million renovation of the sports park.
Plans include replacing the indoor soccer fields with two NHL-size hockey rinks, complete with eight full size locker rooms.
“Our goal is to increase the skating community and make this a hotbed for hockey and figure skating in this part of the country,” said G.R.E.A.T.T. President Bob Catalde. “We want to make the transition seamless.”
Plans also include interior renovations of the sports dome, resurfacing the basketball courts, and renovations to the existing outdoor fields.
The park will be operated by Rink Management Services, which is the largest operator of ice skating facilities in the U.S.
“The key to anything is the local economy,” said Rink Management Service President Tom Hillgrove. “There are great leaders in this community and a great deal of community involvement. If we can harvest that energy, put our skill sets to work, it’s a winning formula.”
Supporters of the renovation project say the upgrades allow Erie to host national tournaments, which translates to a major economic boost.
“At the Erie Sports Commission, what we do is create tourism through sports,” said Erie Sports Commission Executive Director Ron Sertz. “To have a facility that has soccer fields, lacrosse fields, basketball courts, ice rinks, all of that helps us bring big events to town."
The renovations are set to begin in January.